DEERFIELD BEACH, FL–I have found that there are two qualities that underlie all awareness when the personal self drops–qualities that are powerfully felt when I’m not under the influence of decades-long conditioning: Emptiness and Gentleness.
Emptiness (vastness/openness) is the mental quality of awareness. In a strange, wonderful intermixed sort of way, everything seems to arise (comes into existence) inside of me, is a part of me, and yet is (all at the same time) still separate from me. I use the word “emptiness” because of the strong feeling of it happening inside of me (“me” being the feeling of this vast, living, emptiness). The inside/part of/separate paradox isn’t really a paradox though–it’s just like when you think of an easter bunny: the image is inside you, part of you, and yet separate from you.
Gentleness is the energetic quality. It underlies everything. Conditioned “Wayne” has a lot of Yang (“can-do,” assertive, forceful) energy, but under that conditioning, is this simple, gentleness that feels so much like the “true” me. I’ve often heard other’s call it “love,” but that seems too vague, too idealistic. “Gentleness” feels more alive, more flowing, more natural.
Emptiness is mental and very difficult to experience for most. The noisy personal self is the main barrier to experiencing it.
Gentleness on the other hand is very easy. Just practice being gentle.
Then, as a tool, notice that when you are not being gentle, that you are either under the influence of the personal self or prior conditioning. The simple act of seeing them makes it much easier for them to drop away.